Streamline online maid application process

Recently, a domestic helper was transferred to me after much to-ing and fro-ing with the Ministry of Manpower.

The ministry seems to treat new employers like businesses that are digital savvy and equipped with advanced printers, scanners, e-mail, messaging, smartphones and computer software.

Little help is offered to clueless employers to simplify the online process (it took me two hours and several calls to talk to a human).

New employers must pass an online orientation programme in English. The non-English-speaking ones have to attend a three-hour course before they qualify. This is despite a useful website which spells out the eligibility conditions.

When a qualified employer applies online, he will find the process onerous and unfriendly.

First, he has to have SingPass and two-factor authentication ready, without which he cannot get started.

If he misses an e-mail or message asking for more documents, his application is void.

There are more oddities that need streamlining.

I hope this archaic, cumbersome online process, where the employer deals with different agencies instead of just one, is not a foretaste of our much-touted Smart Nation, with its promised seamless interactions between citizens and the Government.

Employers already pay a hefty monthly levy; the ministry should proactively ease their burden by cutting its laborious application process and reducing the start-up fees of getting a domestic helper.

David Lam Yan Choon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2017, with the headline 'Streamline online maid application process'. Print Edition | Subscribe